Monday, November 25, 2013

Crab Mac and Cheese

I found a new favorite store.

It sells frozen whole lambs, 20 pound blocks of cheese, vats of ketchup, and commercial quality cookware.

Did y'all guess the restaurant supply store? It's so fun to visit!

There is one here in town that's open to the public and every month or so, I stop in. The meat prices are fantastic and I often pick up Torani syrups, spices, frozen veggies, etc. Last time I stopped by, they had a great price on canned lump crab meat. And by great, I mean half the cost of the grocery store. Obviously, a can came home with me.

Since crab is such a treat, I didn't want to "waste" it on a sub-par meal. It had to be good.

And boy was it.

This recipe tastes like something you'd order a la carte at a fancy pants steakhouse. Except it's easy enough for a weeknight! The sweet crab folded in with the feta, Gruyere, and herbs make a fantasticly decadent dinner.

{see that word I made up? I quite like it.}

This makes a large amount so if you have a small family like us you could split it into two smaller baking dishes and share with a friend or just plan to eat leftovers for lunch a couple of days! I promise you won't mind :)

Crab Mac & Cheese
1 lb dried pasta (any shape)
1 lb lump crab meat
10 oz crumbled feta cheese, divided
zest of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 cup panko
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain well and transfer back to the large pot. Add the crab to the hot pasta and toss to combine.

In a medium bowl, toss together a handful of feta, pinch of lemon zest, panko, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, and the melted butter. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown in color. Whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. This should take 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining feta, lemon zest, and parsley as well as the dill, Gruyere, salt, and pepper. Pour this sauce over the pasta and crab in the large pot and stir well to coat.

Pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved panko mixture evenly over top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides are bubbly and the top is evenly browned. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Smells Like Home

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